Justin Peck’s new ballet, “Copland Dance Episodes,” is a project Lincoln Kirstein would have embraced. Seventy-five minutes of great, unmistakably American music for a ballet company that in many ways reflects the country; with choreography by a young American dancemaker; framed by stage designs by an artist (Jeffrey Gibson) whose inspiration lies in the symbols and patterns of his Choctaw-Cherokee culture. Creating a new American ballet idiom was the aim of Kirstein’s short-lived company Ballet Caravan, which toured the US and Latin America. And it was Kirstein who, in 1938, commissioned “Billy the Kid” from Aaron Copland, and asked the dancer and choreographer Eugene Loring to choreograph it for Dance Caravan.
Foreground from left: Sebastian Villarini-Velez, KJ Takahashi and Cainan Weber and company in “Copland Dance Episodes” by Justin Peck. Photograph by Erin Baiano
The son of a painter and a set designer, director/choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot was, it seems, destined to have a life in the theater. Born and raised in Tours, in central France, in 1960, he studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire Nacional de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes.Continue Reading
One would think that a dance inspired by the events of the January 6 insurrection—yes, a dance!—would not be the ideal stuff of theater, but the eight members of Laurie Sefton Creates (formerly Clairobscur Dance Company), succeeded in giving life to Sefton’s premiere “Herd. Person?”, while the dance, itself, was occasionally problematic.Continue Reading